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It’s August. Usually that brings on the dreads. Dreading the return of the school year. Dreading the four-month journey to the brink of winter. It’s a little different this year, though.

It’s the start of my ninth year teaching — the third at the college. The thought of what’s upon me this semester is daunting. Seven classes. 150 students. All those papers to grade. All those lessons to plan. My energy, time, and creativity will be taxed.

All the more reason to add something else to the plate. I committed myself this week to running my first half-marathon. And this isn’t your typical first marathon. I’m raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in the Team Challenge Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon in December. It’s training nearly every day to prepare my body for the 13.1-mile run. A lot of runners shrug at this, but it’s meaningful for me. December will mark two years since I felt like I was on the path to losing my battle with Crohn’s disease. After a successful surgery on New Year’s Eve, I started January 1, 2011 a new, repaired man (albeit with less intestines). It’s the first time in 10 years that I feel I can do this.

And to keep myself accountable, I’m chronicling my road to Vegas on this blog. Here we go.